Thursday, March 10, 2016

Vinegar Craving

Most of my life I've craved vinegar. I love pickles, pasta fazul with lots of vinegar, and vinegar in water. Salt and vinegar potato chips. During the summer we make sweet pickles--one cup water, one cup sugar, one cup vinegar and fresh cucumbers.

Heaven! We just finished up a batch (the last of the season, *sigh*) and then I drank the juice, although it's too sweet for me.

Out of curiosity I looked up vinegar cravings. A lot of women (it is apparently mostly women) get this craving at puberty. Those men who crave vinegar this way it's a lifelong thing.

The information was quite interesting, and absolutely anecdotal. For most of the women who had this craving, it's strongest the week before their period starts. A lot of them craved vinegar (or pickles) during pregnancy and then the craving went away. Several mentioned the fact that they don't like sweet foods (which applies in my case as well) and many were also lactose intolerant.

I know that people low on potassium (which is found in vinegar) get a lot of cramps. That was another similarity I noticed--many of these people exercise a great deal, and get cramps when they do. Several were marathon runners. When you exercise a lot, potassium and calcium are leached from the muscles if there's not enough in the system, which results in cramps.

Giving blood does the same, for some people (it does for me), but only if the nutrient levels in the blood were too low to start with. Vinegar might balance that. Vinegar also increases the absorption of calcium as well as a number of other essential nutrients.

Another possibility mentioned was an acid/base imbalance. Someone also mentioned the ability of vinegar to balance insulin levels (due to its ability to prevent the absorption of sugars).

Doctors say there's no physiological reason for the craving since vinegar is so low in nutrients, but it's important to remember that many people who crave vinegar aren't just taking a tablespoon (the dose the RDA values are calculated on) but drinking the stuff. Vinegar contains trace amounts of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and iron. So if someone drinks a cup of vinegar they're getting significant amounts of these nutrients. I'm guessing that in most cases when people crave vinegar it's providing missing nutrients and trace minerals, but there are lots of possibilities here.

Whatever the reason, I try to listen to what my body tells me--if it says it wants vinegar and vinegar is available, that's what it will get!